Current Smokers Ecig Use Research

Posted 1st March 2018 by Dave Cross
A team from the Department of Addictions, at King’s College London, and Action on Smoking and Health (ASHUK) have looked at why smokers use vape products – and why they sometimes stop using them. The results have been published in this month’s journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

In “What factors are associated with current smokers using or stopping e-cigarette use”, Erikas Simonavicius, Ann McNeill, Deborah Arnott, Leonie S. Brose have set about trying to find answers to how vaping works and where it falls short.

The team note the extraordinary success vaping has had, leaping from 700,000 in 2012 to 2.8 million users in 2016, in an independent, unpromoted market place.

The team cite studies (Amato et al., 2016; Biener and Hargraves, 2015; McNeill et al., 2015; Pepper et al., 2014) to support the notion that vaping takes place, by and large, “to reduce or stop smoking”. They highlight that continued use of nicotine replacement therapies alongside smoking are linked to a reduction in the consumption of cigarettes – which leads to an increased chance of quitting according to further research.

Further work has demonstrated that “continuing to smoke is more harmful to health than switching to e-cigarettes”, and this is the reason for their paper. The team are concerned that smokers who attempt to vape but then relapse back to smoking constitute “a missed opportunity for harm reduction or smoking cessation.”

The team posed themselves two questions:


1. What is the association between motivation to stop smoking and e-cigarette use status?

2. What reasons and characteristics are associated with smokers using and discontinuing e-cigarettes?

They took data obtained by ASHUK from a 2016 national survey and set about identifying the participants they were interested in.

The top three reasons smokers gave for trying vaping were “to give it a try”, “to help stop smoking”, and “to help reduce smoking”. The leading three reasons for not continuing with an electronic cigarette were that it “didn’t feel like smoking”, “didn’t help with cravings for smoking”, and that it was just to try them out.

88 Vape

Do you have any ideas how the vaping community could use its experience to help those looking to switch?

Chart from the study, available under Creative Commons, and published as Fair Use.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
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